New children’s books

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Two children  in their beds on opposites sides of the world, sleep through the sounds of crickets in their front yards.  As they sleep, writer and illustrator Anne Hunter explains what is happening in and around their homes.  The cricket’s song mingles with the “kreck krech” of frogs in a nearby stream.  The fox sniffs for the scent of rabbits.  The owl watches over the bay as whales sing in the sea. As the reader reaches the other side of the world, he can hear the “scrawk, scrawk” of parakeets their roost in a tree that grows outside the window of the other 9780544582590_p0_v2_s118x184.jpgsleeping boy.

“Cricket Song” is beautifully illustrated by the author in ink and watercolor.  In the almost full-page drawings, a young reader can pick out all of the animals mentioned in the simple text.  In addition running along at the bottom of each page is a panorama drawing of the homes of each boy and the sea that separates each of them.  This soothing tale is a perfect story for bed time.

The theme of death is a difficult subject to discuss with children.  In 1938, Margaret Wise Brown tackled the subject in “The Dead Bird.” Now her book has been beautifully reillustrated by Christian Robinson.

9780060289317_p0_v1_s118x184.jpgFour children and their dog playing in an urban park find a bird lying on the grass.  After feeling for the bird’s heartbeat, they realize that the bird was indeed dead.  They were sorry that the bird had died and would never fly again, but were glad that they could dig a grave and bury the bird in the woods.  They would have a funeral and sing they way grownups did.  They honored the bird through song and surrounded the grave with flowers.  Although they were sad, every day they went and sang to their little dead bird and put fresh flowers on the grave—until they forgot.

Robinson’s illustrates the text using child-like drawings of the four youngsters.  He focuses on the park’s surroundings and the faces of the children.  Suitable for children from 4-8 years of age, “The Dead Bird” can offer parents and children an opportunity to discuss what it means to lose someone you love.

 

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